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December Week 2

Teen Reader

  Sherlock Holmes The Blue Carbuncle

“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” (1892)

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle Text Version

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle Audio Version

“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”

The great detective Sherlock Holmes tackles a simple problem: find the owner of a lost hat and Christmas goose. Soon he is embroiled in a notorious jewel theft.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle, (born May 22, 1859, Edinburgh, Scotland—died July 7, 1930, Crowborough, Sussex, England), Scottish writer best known for his creation of the detective Sherlock Holmes—one of the most vivid and enduring characters in English fiction.

Conan Doyle, the second of Charles Altamont and Mary Foley Doyle’s 10 children, began seven years of Jesuit education in Lancashire, England, in 1868. After an additional year of schooling in Feldkirch, Austria, Conan Doyle returned to Edinburgh. Through the influence of Dr. Bryan Charles Waller, his mother’s lodger, he prepared for entry into the University of Edinburgh’s Medical School. He received Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery qualifications from Edinburgh in 1881 and an M.D. in 1885 upon completing his thesis, “An Essay upon the Vasomotor Changes in Tabes Dorsalis.”

While a medical student, Conan Doyle was deeply impressed by the skill of his professor, Dr. Joseph Bell, in observing the most minute detail regarding a patient’s condition. This master of diagnostic deduction became the model for Conan Doyle’s literary creation, Sherlock Holmes, who first appeared in A Study in Scarlet, a novel-length story published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual of 1887. Other aspects of Conan Doyle’s medical education and experiences appear in his semiautobiographical novels, The Firm of Girdlestone (1890) and The Stark Munro Letters (1895), and in the collection of medical short stories Round the Red Lamp (1894). Conan Doyle’s creation of the logical, cold, calculating Holmes, the “world’s first and only consulting detective,” sharply contrasted with the paranormal beliefs Conan Doyle addressed in a short novel of this period, The Mystery of Cloomber (1889). Conan Doyle’s early interest in both scientifically supportable evidence and certain paranormal phenomena exemplified the complex diametrically opposing beliefs he struggled with throughout his life.

“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” Analysis

The popularity of Sherlock Holmes was well established by the time Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put pen to paper to write "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle". This popularity has extended into the modern day, with "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" being one of the most well-liked and memorable Sherlock Holmes short stories.  Containing many humorous elements, "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" initially deals with the abandonment of a goose and hat but evolves into a more noteworthy case.  "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle" was first published in The Strand Magazine in January 1892, although it is often considered a Christmas story.  After publication in the Strand Magazine, the first twelve short stories by Conan Doyle would be combined into The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a book that was published in 1892.  The general public eagerly awaited the publication of The Strand Magazine each month to read about the next case of Sherlock Holmes. In "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle", Conan Doyle offers a tale of goodwill with a darker flipside.  The goodwill sees Sherlock Holmes trying to return a hat and goose lost by someone on Christmas Day, but the story then deals with the theft of a precious stone, the Blue Carbuncle. The prowess of Holmes is displayed in the detective deducing much about the owner of the hat and the goose simply from examining the battered hat, though the solving of the missing stone has much more to do with legwork than deduction.


“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” Discussion Questions

Holmes decides to let Ryder go. Why? Do you think he did the right thing? What would you have done?

Once Ryder is safely out of the country, do you think Holmes has an obligation to explain to the police what happened to the gem? Why or why not?

What is a foil character? In what way does Watson serve as Holmes’ foil in the early pages of the story?

One rule of a good detective story is that the crime must be significant, important enough to be interesting to the reader. Do you think this story meets that requirement? Why or why not?

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In Spanish

 Era la Vispera de Navidad

Era la Vispera de Navidad